London: Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron wore a poppy emblem on his lapel at his reception in Beijing despite objections from China which equates the flower with its defeat in the Opium War 168 years ago.
Cameron and his cabinet colleagues, who reached Beijing on Tuesday on a two-day trade visit, wore the paper flowers to pay respects to war veterans, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Chinese officials asked the delegates to remove the poppies before Cameron's official welcome at Beijing's Great Hall because the flower symbolises their defeat against Britain in the Opium War fought from 1839 to 1842 as a result of trade disputes between the two countries.
The visiting delegation including four Cabinet ministers - George Osborne, Michael Gove, Chris Huhne and Vince Cable - refused to remove their poppies and they took their position to watch the Prime Minister inspect Chinese troops alongside Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier.
'The Chinese told us it would be inappropriate to wear poppies because of the Opium Wars. We informed them they meant a great deal to us and we would be wearing them all the same,' a member of the Downing Street party was quoted as saying.
Cameron is also expected to pay his respects to the war dead at a ceremony in South Korea Thursday.